Nepal is a country of great variety. Not only when it comes to religion and culture, with 100 different ethnicities and 195 languages being spoken today, it is also home to 10% of the world’s total bird population. Overall Nepal, more than 850 bird species are found – alone in Kathmandu Valley a large number of these birds can be spotted. The hills around the valley especially Nagarjun, Godavari and Phulchowki are ideal bird watching areas.
While in the higher Himalayan regions numerous species of birds of prey can be found, national parks like Chitwan in the lowlands harbor a wide variety of birds as well. Also, the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve in the far east of Nepal hold an incredible variety of both resident and migratory birds. Our birdwatching tour takes bird and nature enthusiasts through the national park Chitwan, the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve and the Phulchowki mountain. Throughout our tour you will be accompanied by one of Nepal’s foremost bird guides.
Did you know? Nepal’s national bird is the lophophorous, Impeyen Pheasant – locally called Danphe, which is found in the Himalayan region.
Chitwan National Park: Nepal’s first national park is the best-known site for bird watching. The World Heritage site in the Terai region, the Nepalese lowland, covers an area of 932km² / 3058 ft². The wildlife reserve at the center of the park is home to grasslands and subtropical lush-green forests, and provides a protected space for 540 bird species, over half of Nepal’s total bird population and two-thirds of the country’s globally threatened bird species. Other endangered species like Bengal tigers, one-horned rhinoceroses, leopards, elephants, antelopes, monkeys, and other wild creatures live there. Safaris can be done safely in a chair in a jeep. If you prefer to walk, you will be accompanied by a guide or by a preferable ornithologist.
The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve: Koshi Tappu is situated in the far eastern corner of Nepal, close to the country’s southern border with India. It’s one of Asia’s finest wetland sites, a combination of scrub grasslands and riverine forests, and home to 31 mammals and 485 bird species. The birds can be seen by boat, gliding through waters in the stillness of early morning and evenings. 20 species of duck, ibises, storks, swamp partridges, herons, egrets above many other exotic and migratory waterfowl not found elsewhere in Nepal live there. It is also shelter to 13 out of 22 of Nepal’s nearly threatened bird species.
Phulchowki Mountain: While we spend most of our trip in the green lowlands of Nepal, we want to offer you a contrasting perspective by spending one or two days on Phulchowki mountain. At 2760m / 9055 ft it’s the highest of the mountains situated 20 km South East of Kathmandu encircling the valley. Phulchowki has a great density of bird species — around 300 species inhabit this place and stunning views of the Himalayas are often possible, with scarlet-flowering rhododendrons in the foreground. The Godavari forest, at the foot of Phulchowki hill, where the Royal Botanical Garden is situated, records over 100 species of birds.
Kathmandu Airport, Nepal
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Transfer to your hotel in Thamel, a colorful and vibrant shopping area close to the city center where you will stay for one night.
A local place for bird watching is the Shivapuri Watershed Reserve, 12km north of the city and Nagarjuna in the North West. Shivapuri National Park is one of the richest forested areas around Kathmandu, which houses about 318 bird species. The forest holds a significant population of three endemic bird species like the Spiny Babbler, the Hoary-throated Barwing, and the White-throated Tit. Shivapuri is a delight for bird watchers who have an eye for exploration.
Possible sightings: Hill Partridge, Great Barbet, Wedge-Tailed Green Pigeon, Eurasian Jay, Kalij Pheasant, Nepal Fulvetta, Asian Paradise-Flycatcher, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Mountain Scops Owl, Grey-winged Blackbird, White-rumped Vulture, Hodgson’s Bush chat
Today you will leave Kathmandu Valley and take time enjoying the scenery along the river as well head South West towards the lowlands. Our destination, after well-chosen bird-watching stops, is Chitwan National Park. Over 540 species of birds have been recorded here, and you can expect to see nearly one third of these, as well as many mammals and reptiles.
Possible Sightings on the way: River Lapwing, White-capped Redstart, Wallcreeper
These days offer a good chance for multiple bird and animal sightings. We start with a hike through the jungle, continue through the grasslands, where we will go on a boat trip over Rapti River, and continue with a Jeep Safari in the afternoon. Not only is it possible to see numerous birds and butterflies (over 40 species), while you are in Jeep Safari, it is also very likely to spot wild mammals like rhinos, tigers, deers and many more. On top of the 4-meter-tall animal, you can come very close to these endangered species while being in a safe place, since the animals have no reason to attack their fellow species. You will stay in our comfortable lodge just outside the park for one night.
Jungle: Red Junglefowl, Indian Peafowl, Oriental Pied Hornbills, Crested Serpent Eagles, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Red-napped Ibis, Lesser Adjutants, Himalayan Ruby throat, Spotted Bush Warbler, Chestnut-capped Babbler, Brown Crake, Woodpeckers, Drongos, Cuckoos, Minivets, Parakeets, Chestnut-headed, Blue bearded Bee-eaters, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Red Headed Trogon
Grasslands: Bengal Bush Lark, Slender-billed Babbler, Indian Grass bird, and White-tailed Stonechat
River Tour: Citrine Wagtail, Rosy pipit and Stork-billed Kingfisher
Mammals: Indian One-horned Rhinos, Wild Boar, Sambar, Hog Deer, Rhesus Macaque, Grey Langur Monkeys, Tiger, Leopard, Sloth Bear and Gaur
Butterflies: Common Mormon, Peacock Pansy and Great Egg fly
It is a daylong journey from Chitwan to Koshi Tappu in the Terai Region. We pass by many villages and towns that give a unique insight into the Nepalese way of living. By making an early start we aim to reach Koshi Camp by late afternoon, where you will stay three nights; you will surely receive a warm welcome.
The Koshi Camp is a haven for wildlife; like at Chitwan, the night sights and sounds are magical. You will spend two mornings exploring the local area from a levee which protects the arable land from flooding. In one morning, you drive to a grassland area close to the Koshi River; it may be necessary to cross it with a silent rubber boat to an otherwise inaccessible island in search for birds. Near the barrage across the river, you may be fortunate and see some of the endangered Gangetic River Dolphins that live here. This region is the last refuge of the wild Water Buffalo in Nepal and we may also see mammals Asian Elephant, Indian Grey Mongoose, Golden Jackal and Bengal Fox.
Possible Sightings: Black Bittern, Bronze-winged Jacana, Siberian Ruby throat, Taiga Flycatcher, Scaly Thrush, Blue-throated Barbet, Spotted Owlet, Brown Hawk-Owl, Black crowned Night, Herons, Indian Flying Foxes, Grey-headed Lapwing, Black-headed lbis, Striated Grass bird, Smoky Warbler, Swamp Francolin, white-rumped Vulture, Red-necked Falcon, Streak-throated Woodpecker, Whistler’s Warbler, Black-throated Thrush, Brown Fish Owls, Indian Courser, Sand Lark, Small pratincole, Pallas’s Gull
This morning we leave Koshi Camp and reach Biratnagar Airport in 90 minutes, from where we catch our returning flight to Kathmandu, with Mount Everest often visible to your right. We take a city tour this afternoon, and you can expect to visit a Hindu temple as well as a Buddhist Stupa.
The next day you will make the short drive to Phulchowki mountain; you’ll travel by Jeeps and a track leads right to the top. Having brought a picnic lunch, we are able to spend most of the day in this areas (and we have a second opportunity to explore this place on our final full day). Weather permitting, we will concentrate on the upper slopes on one of our visit, birding a little lower down on the other day (if preferred). The variety of laughingthrushes, babblers, yuhinas, bulbuls, flowerpeckers, flycatchers, sunbirds, tits and warblers is tremendous. On a clear day there are impressive views of the snow-capped Himalayas, with our guide able to point to Manaslu (the world’s seventh highest peak), Langtang and part of the Annapurna range.
Possible Sightings: Spring Babbler, Himalayan Cutia, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Rufous Bellied Pied Woodpeckers, Himalayan Bluetail, Green-tailed and Fire-tailed Sunbird, Black-throated Bushtit, Black-throated Parrotbill, Blue-Napped Pitta, racket-tailed Drongo, Tibetan siskin, spotted forktail, Northern Eagle Owl, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Long-tailed Mountain Thrush, Chestnut-headed Bee-Eater, Maroon Oriole, Large Hawk Cuckoo, Eurasian Woodcock, Kalij, Pheasant, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Red-billed, Leothrix, Nepal Fluvetta, Himalayan Shrike-babbler, White-throated Laughingthrush, Black Eagle, Cinereous and Himalayan Vultures, Great Barbets, Rufous Sibia, Grey-hooded and Buff-barred Warblers, Himalayan Black-lored Tit, Black-faced Warbler, Blue-winged and Bar-throated Minlas, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, White-browed Fulvetta and Whiskered Yuhina
On our last full day, you’ll have the choice to either go to another hike to Phulchowki mountain or if you want to spend your last day in the city, we show you Durbar square, one of three King’s palaces in the Kathmandu valley. You will see local markets, visit the Natural History Museum and finally, we will invite you to our traditional Nepalese dinner. Your final night in Nepal is spent in Kathmandu.
In the morning we will transfer you to the airport to fly back home.